In a one year study performed by Accuracast, a marketing agency, the influence on the CTR of the position in paid search in Google was analysed. This study analysed approximately 2 million clicks over a period of 12 months.
The study determined that the #1 position in Adwords on Google had a mean CTR that was seven percent. The #2 and #3 positions had a CTR of 3 percent and 2 percent respectively. This is not surprising and it is what would be expected by most marketers. However, this is not the end of this story, as some other results do not always follow this trend.
This study revealed that the #1 position was not the best place for click throughs in all instances. The activity was analysed over a variety of channels that Google uses for adverting. This included their display network and search partners.
An analysis of the data determined that search partner results on sites like Ask, AOL, and others had a higher click through rate for listing in #5 position than for the #1 position at 1.16% and 0.83% respectively, which is quite surprising.
Therefore, the study determined that the position in search partners did not have a near as much of an influence on the CTR as that of Google search. On the search network the number 1 position has only a very marginal increase as compared to the advertisements that are listed in the two through nine positions.
A reason for this may be the limited quantity of information that accompanies the search partner ads in comparison to the same ad on Google, for the identical keyword search, which is likely to have an influence on the CTR.
In the Display Network, the ads in position number 3 had a CTR which was highest at 0.29%. Text ads in position number 1 had a click through rate of 0.17%.
The researchers were quite taken aback by this data. When they initially determined that there was a CTR spike in position number 5 in the data collected from search partners and a CTR spike in position number 3 for content network ads, their initial response was to doubt the integrity of their data. They thoroughly checked their data integrity and searched for data that may be skewing their results. Nevertheless, they determined that the data was valid, since it was generated from over 70,000 clicks and over numerous accounts, campaigns, and industries.
It is also noteworthy that AOL and Ask do not clearly differentiate between Adwords and organic results near as much as Google does. In each of these sites there are between three and seven advertisements that show up above organic results, with five of the ads being very common. In this scenario, one can see why users may click on the fourth or fifth advertisements as they may believe they are organic links and they are located directly above the actual organic links.